Two private landlords have been fined $3,000 by a local magistrates court for breaking tenancy laws.
Steven and Nava Meyer were charged with forcing their tenants to pay too much bond money, not giving a receipt and not lodging the money with the Bond Administrator.
They pleaded guilty to the three offences under the Residential Tenancies Act at a hearing in the Perth Magistrates Court last Monday. They were fined $1,000 and ordered to pay the costs of $2,000.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said legal action was necessary.
“In 2011, the Meyers took $8,500 in bond money for a rental property in Yokine – 10 times the weekly rent – when under tenancy law no more than four weeks' rent should be taken as a security bond,” she said.
“As well as failing to give the tenant a receipt, meaning there was no proper record of the transaction, the Meyers did not lodge the money with the Bond Administrator for nearly 500 days. Legally it must be lodged within 14 days. At the time, tenancy laws also gave an option for them to put the money in a dedicated bond account at the bank and they did not do this either.
“The Meyers, who had been landlords before, should have been aware of their obligations.”
The commissioner hoped this and other recent cases would deter private landlords from ignoring their responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.
“The law ensures a tenant’s bond money will not be misused and is held securely, so whether it is a private landlord or a real estate agent, funds must be lodged with the Bond Administrator as soon as practicable and no later than 14 days after receipt," she said.
“Failure to lodge, or a seriously delayed lodgement may result in prosecution by Consumer Protection and subsequent damage to a person’s reputation."
Last month, a private landlord was fined $2,500 in the Geraldton Magistrates Court for failing to deposit two tenants’ security bonds and failing to lodge the bond of a third tenant with the Bond Administrator within 14 days.